The newly-inaugurated Congress has introduced legislation that combats voting suppression, fortifies election rights, and would transform Election Day into a federal holiday.

House Democrats have brought H.R. 1 or colloquially nicknamed the “For The People Act” to the floor. The first bill during the 116th Congressional session aims to repair America’s elections watchdog, the Federal Election Commission.

The FEC’s current composition — a six-person agency with three Democratic and three Republican appointees — has resulted in gridlock along party lines. H.R. 1 proposes reducing the members from six to five members.

This legislation also allows candidates to pay for child care, rent and health insurance with campaign funds so that a candidate who isn’t wealthy or doesn’t have ready access to rich people can run for office without depleting their bank accounts.

“We heard loud and clear from the American people that they feel left out and locked out too often from their own democracy,” Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD) said at a press conference Friday.

During the 2018 Midterm Elections, Democratic candidates for office ran on a pledge to curb the flow of big money and the influence of special interests.

“H.R. 1 is the delivering on that promise back to the American people and telling them, in return for you giving us the gavel, we are going to do everything we can, everything single day, to give you your democracy back,” Sarbanes said.

The For The People Act is divided into three parts: ethics, money in politics and voting.

“H.R. 1 is a critical first step in addressing the flaws in our nation’s voting laws and election integrity,” said former Georgia House Democratic Leader Stacey Abrams, Fair Fight Action founder and chairwoman. “Voters in Georgia and across the country deserve reliable access to the ballot box that serves as the cornerstone of our democracy. Through automatic voter registration, secure election infrastructure, support for absentee ballots, and other measures outlined in the legislation, we will be closer to that goal.”

While President Donald Trump and his Republican allies have not actively sought remedies for voter suppression, antiquated election administration policies, and refused to end the era of super-PACs, H.R. 1 has the ingredients to awaken many Americans that have become disillusioned with the political process.

Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (R) holds a press conference on the introduction of the anti-corruption bill HR 1 in the Rayburn Room of the US Capitol. Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

Itoro Umontuen currently serves as Managing Editor of The Atlanta Voice. Upon his arrival to the historic publication, he served as their Director of Photography. As a mixed-media journalist, Umontuen...

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